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Costume and Custom

Leah Meisel

Masks, masquerades, mystery, and minhagim. All are components essential to the mystique of Purim. Over the centuries, a profusion of Purim minhagim has developed — each as unique as the community that boasts of it. Customs and costumes — these practices only add to the Purim celebration

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It often seems that Purim is the longest holiday of the year. It lasts from Chanukah to Pesach — from the first hamentasch that appears in the stores right after the doughnuts finally leave, to the last gumdrop left from mishloach manos, surreptitiously swallowed before burning the chometz.

Inevitably, the longer the holiday, the more fascinating the customs relating to it. Beyond the requisite Purim mitzvos that all communities share, a wide range of original Purim minhagim abound, originating from all points of the globe.

The sources of many of these practices remain shrouded in mystery, the origins lost over the passing of time. Perhaps some of these traditions evolved due to the spirit of the day. Though evidence is not clear as to why we keep every individual custom, each community proudly and persistently preserves their individual minhagim as a genuine part of what characterizes Purim.

 

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